Tagline: Michael’s work in Haddonfield is not done yet!
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Writers: Larry Brand, Sean Hood
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Brad Loree, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Sean Patrick Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tara Banks
15 | 1h 29min | Comedy , Horror
Budget: $15,000,000 (estimated)
Much has been made about what New Line Cinema did to the Friday the 13th franchise.
In their pursuit of a money-spinning Freddy vs Jason crossover they ignored the key ingredient of the series: simple repetition. Friday the 13th was the first horror franchise to make the ‘more of the same’ concept key to its success, but with their body-swapping debut Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday all that went out of the window. Some feel their second effort Jason X was another insult to the Paramount formula, while others disagree. Whatever you may think, though it shot Jason into space and tried something novel for the most part it went back to basics and retained many of the ingredients that made the original series a success. The same can not be said about Dimension Films, who in their Halloween: H20 pomp aped the already moribund Scream formula and robbed Myers of what little identity he had left.
H20 mercifully dropped the whole druid debacle of the two previous sequels and in doing so promised a return to form. Laurie had no longer died in an off-screen car accident. She was alive and…well, she was alive, and a fated reunion with her omnipotent nemesis promised much for fans, many of whom would be disappointed by the slick cookie cutter production that turned Michael into a veritable clone of the fast-paced Ghostface. Not satisfied with the debacle that actress Jamie Lee Curtis described as a “money gig”, Dimension Films would return four years later with Halloween Resurrection.
It’s interesting that Curtis would again return for what was little more than a cameo. Was she in it for the creative satisfaction on this occasion? Perhaps she merely wanted her character to die for real this time so she never had to return, although the upcoming reboot tells us otherwise. Okay, so we’re all a little hypocritical sometimes. We are human, after all. But Laurie has been made so dumb by so many needless sequels that she succumbs to Michael after trapping him like an animal for getting too close and reaching to look under his mask. You see, she just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t an impostor (more on that in a moment), even though this one willingly stalked her with a butcher’s knife. Surely after all this time she’d be able to tell from his movement alone, particularly since the character has been played by a series of useless stuntmen who wouldn’t know eerie if you drove them off a peer into a waiting sea of it.
So Laurie dies for the second time—not before providing us with the most inexplicable kiss in horror cinema—Loomis bowed out in the sixth instalment of the franchise and Jamie, the only other series protagonist of note, has long-since bitten the dust (in a separate narrative, obviously), so where to next? Well, first of all the screenplay has to write away that pesky beheading from the end of H20. You saw that, right? Michael’s head was chopped clean off. Did he reattach said head and recede into the darkness to regroup. Of course not. That would just be stupid. Instead it was a simple case of mistaken identity, some other poor schmoe having eaten the dull blade of an axe. Why didn’t the guy say anything to warn a vengeful Laurie? Because that cheeky little scamp Myers had crushed his larynx. We discover these incongruous details thanks to a couple of gossiping nurses, and with that troublesome bit of exposition out of the way we’re ready for the main event.
With nobody from series folklore to turn to it is left to the Myers house to provide us with a point of relevance. You know, the same house that has been tied to several multiple murders, as well as being abandoned on and off for years (depending on which timeline you’re referring to). With all of this in mind you’d think this monument of death would have been torn down long ago, or at the very least been set on fire by angry residents or even crumbled under the weight of dilapidation. Sadly, none of this is true. Not only is the house still standing, it is set to become the location for a reality TV venture that will see a group of kids stalked by a fake Michael until the real thing inevitably shows his rubber pallor. With Laurie finally out of the way Michael wants to return to home, perhaps settle down, find a job and get married, only those money-grabbing a-holes at Dimension just won’t let the big guy rest.
Reality TV. Remember when that was novel and fresh and innovative? No, me neither. In 2002, the use of a plethora of ‘reality’ TV cameras may have been something of a draw, but years later it is dated and grainy and somewhat confusing, and without that superficial cherry to plump in our laps the movie comes across as meaningless and wholly shallow. As for the cast, let me start by saying that pop stars do not belong in a Halloween movie (the reasons for which should be self-explanatory to any fan of the series), and I know many of you feel the exact same way. Other than that the cast are utterly forgetful with a female protagonist who may as well not exist. The movie even carries a 15 certificate without a drop of gore in sight. I mean, what on Earth am I watching here?
The stars of the show, broadcast over the internet, are in search of Myers-related clues for reasons that are too pointless to care about, but in reality the house is rigged with fake corpses by heartless TV execs looking to exploit their subjects for the sake of ratings. If the house was bigger, say like a haunted mansion, and more creativity was applied to the concept, it perhaps would have piqued the interest just a little, but no luck.
Then we have fake hardman Busta Rhymes, whose sub-par karate moves are enough to put Michael down for an 8 count, when in reality he only served to put the series down for a TKO.
Editor’s note: It has since been brought to my attention that Curtis was contractually obligated to return for this movie, a fact that makes me feel somewhat better.
From a woeful selection of certificate 15 kills, a staircase beheading is perhaps the best of the bunch. I don’t remember who the victim was, and to be honest I don’t much care to find out.
Most Absurd Moment
For a character who’s been dicing with death for four decades, a testicle electrocution should be a stroll through the Haddonfield leaves. Of course, Busta Rhymes has a tough guy image to uphold if he is continue to sell records, a component that results in the most anticlimactic finale in the series.
The movie is directed by none other than Rick Rosenthal, the man who would helm sequel high point Halloween II back in 1981. Carpenter would re-shoot several scenes from that movie after feeling that his protege’s efforts were not scary enough. That’s forgivable—that movie was his directorial debut—but you’d think he would have learnt a thing or two in the interceding twenty years. To be fair, he was flogging a dead horse.
Most Absurd Dialogue
After leading Michael to the roof of the nuthouse where she currently resides, Laurie surprises her nemesis by surprising him from behind.
Laurie: Hello, Michael. I knew you’d come for me sooner or later. What took you so long?
Oh, I don’t know? Maybe the little distraction of a near decade-long alternate narrative. Give the man a break!
Once again, words fail me.
Unlike H20, this movie has no pretensions. It knows it’s peddling trash. And although that makes it a tad more forgivable, it is indicative of a franchise that that is two decades past its sell-by-date. The most pointless entry in the series.
Cedric Smarts: Editor-in-Chief and Art Director
Science fiction author, horror enthusiast, scourge of plutocracy, shortlisted for the H. G. Wells Award, creator of vhsrevival.com
Likes: 80s poster art, Vangelis, classical liberalism, dystopian allegories, dissident political activism, Noam Chomsky, George Orwell, George Saunders, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut